So … you’ve been holding out on getting the Nintendo 3DS handheld until the screens got bigger – and now that the 3DS XL is out, many people are jumping into Nintendo 3D land for the first time. Now is the greatest time to put together my own Ten Great Games for the the 3DS.
Before we get started, I’d like to point out that this isn’t the “Top 10” list of any kind. These are ten games I feel are worthy of your time, money and consideration; that produce great value for your gaming dollars. I don’t use Metacritic or sales numbers for these determinations; I use my own experience as a 30 year gamer and a trusted name in the gaming community.
If your favorite game doesn’t appear on here … or you’re wondering why Kid Icarus didn’t make the list .. there is no need to flame in the comments; create your own Ten Great Games list instead. Benefiting from gaming journalism is all about aligning with writers that share common gaming interests, genres and ideology – not about pulling Nielsen’s numbers or flitting over to MetaCritic.
With that out of the way, let the countdown begin! All prices listed are at the time of writing and may have changed since publication.
10. Thor: God of Thunder
(Sega Of America, Inc.; Amazon $14.38)
Thor didn’t get a lot of press when it came out. Games based on movies tend to be hit or miss, and Thor came out at a bad time for 3DS owners; with many people waiting for a price drop and others waiting for a big screen solution.
Amazingly enough, Thor is a great “God of War” type knock-off title; featuring adventure brawling with lots of weapons, QTE cut-scenes and a remarkably long play experience. The game suffered from a few short-sights – but with this title being under $15, it’s fantastic value for your gaming dollar. Read my full review here.
9. Bit.Trip Saga 3D
(Aksys; Amazon $11.99)
The BitTrip games have always been about blocky old-school graphics and simplistic, addictive game play. This “collection” of BitTrip games includes all your favorites – this time in 3D. Even the pixel-counters have to give this game some slack when viewed in its 3D glory. Featuring six games including Cabalt-style running (only better) and Pong on LSD – this is a fantastic, just-one-more-game set of games well worth your money.
The best part is that the game FINALLY came down in price; putting it well under $20; price is no longer an obstruction (or an excuse) not to own this classic.
8. PilotWings Resort
(Nintendo; Amazon $14.90)
The first of the first-party titles to hit my list, PilotWings can be had cheap (sometimes even free with purchase) at this point in the 3DS lifecycle. If you played this game extensively on Wii Resort, you might find this title covers some too-familiar ground.
But for the rest of us? This is a relaxing, sometimes overwhelming 3D experience that appeals to the free spirit in us all. Those neurotic for “gotta catch’em all” will find great hunting in this game as you breeze across a luscious island in a variety of air vehicles (loves me some jet pack) trying to find every single balloon.
Many people will complain that this “ isn’t a game”, but those that have played it understand that it is more of an “experience” and in gorgeous 3D it is a beautiful one as well.
7. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition
(Capcom; Amazon $24.99)
As a launch day title, this top-notch fully-online fighting game is largely forgotten. Having launched relative to the console versions, this title is often picked apart by the pixel-counters and bump-map-lighting whores out there – but once you get past the static backgrounds (despite being in glorious 3D), you won’t know the difference.
The production values on this under-$20 title are extreme; Capcom left nothing to chance. Easily the best fighter out there on 3DS, this game is a no brainer to pick up at the store with your new 3DS XL.
6. Mario Kart 7
(Nintendo; Amazon $24.83)
The first party hits keep coming. What keeps this game lower on the list is the fact that – while it brings new stuff to the table – it’s still Mario Kart; and while that isn’t a bad thing – a lot of people see it as “more of the same”.
For fans, this game features a lot of value; tons of tracks, new environmentals and new vehicle enhancements. Completionists will love the challenge of unlocking everything – and the online gamers will appreciate the updates to the internet play.
As a new 2D title, this would have been a worthy game – but throw gorgeous first-party 3D in there and it is hard not to recommend this game in ANY list of quality 3DS games.
5. Super Mario 3D Land
(Nintendo; Amazon $26.99)
The second best Mario experience on the platform, this title proves you can mix genres of gameplay into a smooth, single experience. You’ll play 2D, 3D and other bizarre perspectives as you tromp your way through tons of levels, looking for those hidden golden coins.
Everything you could want in a Mario game is in here somewhere – and it is a romping good time shifting perspectives and using the 3D display to your advantage.
Unfortunately, like all first-party titles, this game retains its value – so hit Craig’s List for desperate people looking to unload the game cheaper.
4. Heroes of Ruin
(Square Enix; Amazon $19.99)
The drop in, four-player, on-line play with voice chat really sets a new standard for internet play on the 3DS – and those willing to play with friends will be rewarded with an even more fun experience than solo players.
It is possible to get deals on this game, but for the most part expect to pay top dollar. If dungeon grinding is your thing? This is your game.
3. New Super Mario Bros. 2
(Nintendo; Amazon $10.10)
It may be based on the Wii engine, but this is a whole new game – easily putting the DS version to shame and giving 3DS players top-quality co-op (local, two-card only) in the Mario world.
This is an insidious, level-packed, devious game where almost every inch of the levels are somehow relevant. Don’t let the gold coin chasing scare you. While you’ll end up with triple digit lives after the first world, you’ll burn them in spades trying to find the gruesome hidden giant coins needed to complete the levels properly.
A new Coin Rush mode takes you on aggressively timed, three level rompfests trying to score attack coins. Addiction and “one more time” abounds.
2. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
(Warner Bros; Amazon $15.44)
Forget other portable Lego games you’ve played. This is nearly a perfect clone of the console big brother version (open world mode is removed, unfortunately) – complete with a more aggressive fighting/brawling system, TONS of replay collectibles and all your favorite DC Superfriends in one game.
With extremely fun, varied gameplay – long solo game and tons of replayability, I have ZERO hesitation in saying this is one of my favorite 3DS games yet.
1. Resident Evil: Revelations
(Capcom; Amazon $23.50)
My absolute favorite title in the 3DS stables currently is Resident Evil: Revelations (or Revelaitons, depending on which case you got) – a full console experience, with handhelds in mind – this is one game you won’t be ashamed to show your PSVita lovin’ friends (all one of them).
The game features a complete Resident Evil experience, chopped up into handheld-compatible playtimes. Insane graphics (especially when you turn the in-game option of 3D Strength to VERY STRONG), full voice over atmospheric audio and dead-on RE gameplay with your choice of tons of control options – including Control Pad Pro (easily worth $20 just to play this game). The game can really scare the crap out of you too – esp. with the XL’s bigger screens.
If anyone asked me – what is the #1 game you would buy with a brand new 3DS purchase? This would be it. Just remember, this is REVELATIONS, not MERCENARIES (which is a totally different “micro” RE experience). Read my review here.
Be sure to check out Review Lagoon author Alex J. Lopez’s piece on great 3DS eShop titles you can’t live without!